Crazy Eddie wrote:
What's kind of interesting is that Cochrane doesn't seem to DO anything when the Enterprise crew is running around repairing the ship. It's not just his "Aw, fuck it" attitude when the ship gets busted, it's the fact that he spends most of that time skulking around drinking and otherwise shows no interest in the ship whatsoever. This is NOT AT ALL a man who could have overcome the kind of adversity and uncertainty he would have inevitably encountered in the design, construction and testing of the Phoenix.
While I don't share your theory that Cochrane didn't invent warp drive, I do, in retropect, think that he was a poorly-envisioned character (in FC, not "Metamorphosis;" Glenn Corbett's Cochrane couldn't have been more different). This guy is totally unbelievable as a scientist/inventor/doctor/etc. I think the writers of the film simply focused more on the "humorous" aspects of the character while completely ignoring the illogic that this old drunk womanizing coward created something as earth-shattering as warp drive.
Someone earlier mentioned the idea that the person you most admire turning out to not be at all what you expected when you finally meet him. While there's absolutely nothing wrong with that premise, it still has to be bound by logic. If Cochrane was presented as a great scientific mind but also a complete asshole, then it would have worked better. Cromwell's version reminds me of the dudes hanging out at the local bar, who probably couldn't even figure out how to use a smartphone, much less invent a spacecraft FTL drive system.